Self-assembled photonics


Self-Assembled photonics is fast becoming one of the leading photonic fabrication technologies since it is potentially compatible with fibre and integrated optics, including silicon photonics – this effectively creates numerous research opportunities spanning materials research, device application and novel hybrid photonic technologies.


Professor John Canning

Research Location

School of Chemistry

Program Type



Several projects exist to be involved in the exploration, development and implementation of self-assembled materials onto existing silica and silicon platforms for photonic devices and applications. Two key project areas are:

  1. Medical Applications: Self-assembled supramolecular coatings on silica nanoparticles which themselves self-assembled into complex mesostructures designed for specific applications. For example, where additional species, such as drugs and flourophores for diagnostics, are embedded in the mesostructures. A finite out-diffusion time makes this ideal vehicle for targeted medication and diagnostics – the appropriate coating, such as with iron porphyrins, removes cytoxicity issues and increases blood compatibility.
  2. Organic/Silica/Silicon Hybrid Optical Switches: Self-assembled nano and micro wires and films for nonlinear and waveguide switching applications on common photonic platforms are possible using supramolecular structures with high nonlinearity and optical robustness. Continuing advances are increasingly making these the preferred route to practical CMOS compatible optical switches.
  3. Self-Assembled Chemical Sensors inside Optical Fibres: self-assembling application-specific structures can be grown inside the channels of structured optical fibres to enhance sensitivity. A molecular species is chosen to both self-assemble and to capture target species such as the hydrocarbons in oil bores and other environmental parameters.

Additional Information

These topics are sufficiently significant and challenging to satisfy any PhD and Masters Student and can be scaled accordingly to suit. There are also great opportunities for Honor's students in these areas. Students will learn genuine interdisciplinary research involving materials, the physics of self-assembly, chemical interactions, optical waveguides, photonics, and instruments (including the use of advanced facilities across campus). There are also abundant opportunities for travel and for building life long networks and friends as well as collaboration both locally and internationally. Those with talent and ambition will benefit greatly.

Please visit the University website to explore funding opportunities and consider the availability and suitability of existing scholarships at iPL (

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optical physics, chemistry, supramolecular, organic, optical fiber, waveguide, integrated optics, self-assembly, nanophotonics, nanotechnology, photonics, biophotonics.

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1169

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